Our Lady Untier of Knots

History—a family difficulty

The devotion to "Mary Untier of Knots" emerged in Germany at the beginning of the 17th century. Essentially it is a story not of a Marian apparition, but of the everyday life of a family that bears witness to the great effectiveness of prayer addressed to Mary, mediatrix of grace for mankind.

Wolfgang Langenmantel and Sophie Imhoff married in 1612, but after about three years, their marriage was in crisis, so much so that the two spouses began to consider seriously the idea of divorcing. A lack of mutual understanding and frequent arguments meant that the marriage was on the verge of breaking down altogether. Before a complete separation, however, Wolfgang decided to go by foot to the nearby monastery of Ingolstadt, the home of Fr Jakob Rem, and requested his help. The Jesuit decided to entrust the situation to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and together he and Wolfgang prayed together invoking the help of Mary  before a painting of the Virgin of  the Snows.

Sunday April 6th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's

 Fr Jakob knelt to ask for the grace of reconciliation between the two spouses. Over the span of twenty-eight days, Wolfgang went on pilgrimage on four consecutive Saturdays to the monastery of Ingolstadt in order to lay his marriage with Sophie at the feet of the Virgin Mary. Thanks to the time Wolfgang had spent with Fr Jakob in front of the altar of the Virgin Mary, the situation of the spouses gradually became reconciled, and they lived together in communion and happiness to the end of their days. The Virgin Mary had heard their plea for help, and God had granted them the grace requested.

An extraordinary event

Related to this is an extraordinary event witnessed by Fr Jakob on 28th September 1615 in the monastery chapel. It appears that Sophie had given Fr Jakob the special ribbon used during her wedding to Wolfgang. Following local custom, the hands of both spouses had been bound together with a ribbon during their Nuptial Mass, as a sign and symbol of the indissoluble bond created between them thanks to the grace of the sacrament. After every argument with her husband, Sophie had tied a little knot in the wedding ribbon; that same ribbon, full of knots, was given to the Jesuit father for special prayers. While Fr Jakob knelt in front of the painting, he took the ribbon and prayed intensely to the Virgin Mary to untie each and every knot preventing peace between the spouses: "With this act of devotion," he said solemnly to the Virgin of the Snows, "I raise to you the ribbon of marriage; untie all of the knots and make it smooth." As Fr Jakob prayed, the knots of the ribbon miraculously fell loose, leaving it as white and brilliant as it had been on Wolfgang and Sophie's wedding day

A grateful grandson

Their grandson, who later became a priest and was parish priest of St. Peter’s Augsburg. He dedicated  a chapel to Our Lady in thanksgiving for saving his grandparents’ marriage, and commissioned the artist,  Johan Schidtner, to paint a picture of the Blessed Virgin of Good Counsel and asked him to include details that had affected th family. The painting depicts The Blessed Virgin in heaven among the angels. She is intent on untying the knots in a ribbon and passed untied ribbon to the angels, This recalls the miracle tatty took place on 28th September 1615, when the knots of the wedding ribbon were untied through the intercession of Mary.

Many people began to turn to Mary with their family problems, and for two centuries the image enjoyed a modest popularity throughout Germany, but remained unknown to the rest of the  world

Spread of the Devotion: Cardinal Bergoglio

The current Pope Francis was responsible for bringing the image of Our Lady to Latin America.

Fr Jorge Bergoglio fell in love with this devotion when he discovered it in 1986. He had gone to Augsburg to complete his thesis is on the German theologian Romano Guardini.

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